Ken Burns PBS series to highlight South Florida's national parks

Everglades National Park is a short drive from Miami, yet most of its visitors come from out of the state or country. And on a typical weekend, many Biscayne Bay boaters don't even know they're cruising through Biscayne National Park.

To renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, it's no surprise that two parks covering most of the South Florida map might as well be invisible to many who live here. They likely know little about the decades of struggle to beat back plume hunters, dredgers, developers and political forces bent on paving everything from Elliott Key to Everglades City.

''Everyone just assumes the national parks were always there,'' he said.

Burns, acclaimed for his popular studies of the Civil War, baseball, jazz and other uniquely American subjects, hopes to rekindle public appreciation for the parks and the people who fought to create them in his latest series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

On Tuesday, he will visit the University of Miami's Gusman Concert Hall to preview and discuss the six-part, 12-hour series, scheduled to air in September on PBS.

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